Wife's gone, time to party

March 4, 2022
by Andrew Meuleners

This past weekend, my wife went home to spend time with her Mom and Dad after her grandmother's death. There have been times in our marriage when my wife has gone home by herself to visit family or to attend an event, and I have had to take care of the house, boys, and the dog.

Early on, she had certain expectations that she would have for me while she was gone. I am not sure if she thought I would throw a party or what.

First, she would write notes for me. My wife likes messages, and she thinks it keeps me organized. Little does she know that I forget where I put those little letters most of the time.

These notes would say things like do the laundry in the basket. My wife then would tell me how I should do the task. "Make sure to separate the whites from the darks," she would say.

Also, my wife likes to separate light darks from other darks. On the other hand, I throw everything in together and hope for the best. Other tasks included taking out the garbage, cleaning the bathroom,  and picking up the living room.

I will admit that most of those things never got done. Not because I was utterly stressed out watching the kids and taking care of the dog, but because I didn't do them. Most of the time, it came down to her calling me when she left her parents' house, and I knew that I had approximately three and half hours to complete every task on her list.

So most of the time, I failed, and she would look at me with that face that said, "really, you were here the entire weekend, and this all you got done." I would use the defense that she needed to lower her expectations, but I am sure you know where that landed me.

I remember when she used to call me and ask how things were going, I would look around and see the disaster that we had created and say, "yeah, everything is fine, it's going great. We got all the stuff done on your list." I am pretty sure there were several eye rolls over the years.

Things have changed, of course. When my wife leaves for an extended period, there are no longer lists for me. We have come to understand that if the kids are still alive when she gets back, I have completed my mission.

When she leaves for the weekend now, it seems that we revert to a more caveman type of mentality. We eat less healthily, clean up a lot less frequently, go to bed a lot later, and all-around communication degenerates to grunting and pointing.

I will say, though, that I am proud that I have grown a little more responsible with my time while my wife is gone. I will do laundry and pick up things around the house. I make sure the kids eat something for meals and are ready for school.

My wife will still send notes and reminders in a text message, but I am not as annoyed by them as I once was. I used to think that she was checking up on me, and she was, but now I am not as offended by her assumption because I know that she knows me.

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